Nautical Research Centre Library

Description and Contact Information

Colin MacKenzie
The Nautical Research Centre Library
335 Vallejo Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone - (707) 763-8453
Email -
Hours - Sunday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
(open by appointment)

Major Subject Areas: lighthouse and life-saving services, the age of sail, revenue marine, and the Coast Guard.

Resources: books, pamphlets, journals/magazines, newspaper clippings, drawings, blueprints, plans, photographs, slides, postcards, audio, video, and more. Library-quality reproductions of rare books/pamphlets on lighthouses and life-saving including the Annual Report of the U.S. Life-Saving Service (1876 to 1914) and the Annual Report of the U.S. Light-House Board (1868 to 1939). Individual volumes as well as entire sets of reproductions are available.

Visits: Admission is free. Serious inquiries and research visits highly encouraged. The Library is operated on a not-for-profit basis, and welcomes donations.

Directions and Parking: Easily accessible. Proceed westbound on Washington via the East Washington Street exit of Highway 101 in Petaluma. Head south on Vallejo Street 2 blocks. Look for the red panel-van with the white Canadian Coast guard stripe in the driveway. Street parking (no meters).

Accessibility: Library facilities are wheelchair-accessible. Please contact the Librarian for further information before your visit.

Fee-Based Services: research and materials reproduction. Charges for services include the costs of long-distance communications, media, reproduction, binding, and packaging/mailing. The Library publishes a catalog of library-quality reproduction books/pamphlets available for sale (send $3.50 to cover postage/handling of a current catalog). Pricing subject to change without notice.

Synopsis: Maintained and operated by Colin MacKenzie and his family, the Nautical Research Centre Library opened to the public in 1983. The facility is a one-story building with a small amount of space for researchers to work and view materials. The facility is adjacent to the MacKenzie home.

Mr. MacKenzie began collecting materials during a merchant sailing career of over nine years on the Great Lakes, in the Atlantic, and in the Caribbean. Colin's interest in the age of sail continued during his tenure as a demolition/deconstruction technician for the British military. His commission ended in the 1960's, and he continues to pursue his interests in maritime history via the Library. He is currently working on a data bank of information on lighthouse keepers, lightships, aids-to-navigation, and other nautically related information.

A citizen of the First Nations People of Canada (Anishinabe), Mr. MacKenzie has lived and conducted research in the United States for over 40 years. He enthusiastically welcomes inquiries and visits from researchers from all over the world to the library.

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